(DOE Seal)

(DOE Seal)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Power outages remain a possibility in the May 2016 elections as the El Niño phenomenon poses risks to the country’s power supply.

The Department of Energy (DOE) cannot provide a categorical answer yet whether the national elections would be brownout-free.

But the government is working to ensure stable power supply for the elections that could run on automated counting machines, DOE officer-in-charge Zenaida Monsada said.

State weather forecaster PAGASA has warned the El Niño phenomenon, which brings prolonged droughts in the Philippines, could intensify in the coming months and persist in the first quarter of 2016.

DOE has already created a task force that will monitor the possible impact of the global weather pattern on power supply, Monsada said.

The El Niño phenomenon could particularly disrupt supply in Mindanao, which largely relies on hydro-electric power plants. But coal-fired power plants are expected to help meet the region’s electricity requirement. (MNS)